First Year

AuthorWendy Griesdorf
First Year 25
First Year
Rm Cycl r Fr-Yer L Sudts
When you look at your law school’s website and when you visit the career services off‌ice (or articling
off‌ice, depending on the law school you attend), you may f‌ind an overwhelming amount of informa-
tion about career opportunities. This is especially the case when you visit the job-posting boards,
whether they are on a website or in a binder.
As a f‌irst-year student, it is sometimes helpful to assume that you are interested in everyt hing. There
is no reason to rule anything out, unless you know exactly why you came to law school and you are
seeking out a specif‌ic education. At the beginning of your law education, you can choose from a large
number of potential career opportunities. At t his stage in your career, you should not place restrictions
on yourself. Most f‌irst-year students do not have a def‌ined career plan; many have not even made up their
minds as to whether they intend to practise law or do something else with t heir law degrees. In part, the
f‌irst-year academic curriculum is desig ned to provide you with a broad overview of the var ious areas of
law for this very reason. Throughout the year, the career services off‌ice at your law school wi ll likely run
seminars on different practice areas and career options for those with law degrees. From these seminars,
you will learn what is available well before you have to make any real decisions about your career plans.
Keep in mind that if you do get a job in one area of law for a summer, there is no reason to rule
out moving into another area of practice or into another career altogether at a later date. The ability
to shift areas of interest is sometimes referred to as professional mobility. In other words, if you get
a summer job at a criminal off‌ice, you do not have to be a criminal lawyer forever. As obvious as this
sounds, students frequently express concern about becoming pigeon-holed. Your ability to be mobile
throughout the various recru itment systems will depend on your ability to research and ana lyze your
opportunities effect ively and to express your written and oral advocacy skills in your cover letter and
interview. What you learn in a criminal of f‌ice, for instance, has collateral value in many other practice
areas. The experience of working in any law off‌ice seeing how f‌iles are managed, meeting with
clients, understanding how legal research is conducted and applied to a f‌ile, going to court, and watch-
ing how lawyers spend their day — is valuable no matter what area of practice you end up pursuing.

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